In search of story

October 14.22: Coping, but barely


It wrapped me like a cloak, that papery sound. October’s leaves, battered and bruised, but holding yet, whooshed thickly in a wind tantrum determined to strip away every remnant of summer, thrashing the trees and twisting each leaf, growling down from the dishwater sky and around our little homes, impatient for winter.

The air was warm still, but one muscular shove from the south bore an invisible stream of ice, a whisper in the tumult, frost-winged specter. I felt it and knew then it was saying what it came to say, this insistent rush.

I bent over the lavender, itself bent low. Spent, sleepy, it offered up a final incense as I trimmed back its floppy stems. Two fat bees lumbered through the air to watch and sniff. They too heard the Babel of the papery leaves, in tongues of crimson and copper, and saluted the deep purple of my harvest. They too knew the time.

20 thoughts on “October 14.22: Coping, but barely

  1. *gasp* — this is gorgeous, Maureen. Wow.

    • I must add something to my thanks. Your reaction was so very encouraging. I’d been fussing with this for some days, trying to put into words what I’d felt the other day when I was working in the yard. And, as you know, I’m trying to figure out prose poetry. The more we fuss with something, especially when we’re experimenting, the harder it is to send it out into the world, I think. But then I suppose everything we write is an experiment.

  2. Good grief, I was hanging on to every word, feeling as though I was right there and losing a friend. You are an amazing writer Maureen.

    Summer leaves changing to fall colors is like the changing of the guard…preparing for winter. Winter is a beautiful season with soft clean snow covering everything and looking so pristine. Then the snowplows come through and muck it all up…but roads are clear! I don’t do well in the bitter cold temperatures and howling wind. The upside is, once Winter is done torturing us, Spring arrives with new promises.

    • Thank you, Ginger! It means a lot that you took such a feeling from this. And you’ve got it exactly right about the next months: the snow is beautiful, but the cold in our bones is not beautiful at all. I dread the cold, and I would say that “torture” is the right word for that. Thank goodness we have soup and flannel. And maybe some apple crisp.

  3. What a wonderful description of fall. Our color has been plentiful, but then we received 3″+ of rain in the last 24 hours, and a lot of those leaves are on the ground along with a lot of branches. I had to do a couple of errands during the storm, and I had to change all of my clothes when I got home. I was soaked. I also saw more branches down in the road than I’ve ever seen. I think there will be a lot of raking this weekend around the area.

    • 3+ inches in 24 hours? No wonder you were soaked! And now a weekend of picking up branches and raking wet leaves? Get out the liniment. Nothing like a bag of wet leaves to strain the back. It seems early to be losing tree color, but some of our color is on the ground now too. The wind has been busy.

  4. This is beautiful and perfect, Maureen. There are many ways to describe the feel of autumn. This is one of the best.

  5. I enjoyed your prose poem too – definitely something in between the two. The bit I lingered over might surprise you. It was ‘I felt it and knew then it was saying what it came to say, this insistent rush.’ because it seemed to have the blustery sound of the wind in it.

    • I meant to say something of the picture too. How strange it is that the odd section of a tree can colour so brightly red while the rest stays green. I have been watching several in our neighbourhood doing just that. Or is the left hand section more than one tree?

    • Thank you! I’d love to think that some words have the sound of the moment! Sound is so much a part of writing, and so tricky. Have you ever seen the book “Sound and Sense” by Laurence Perrine? My copy dates from college days, long ago. It was such a revelation to me.

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